‘Mario Kart VR’ Blows Visitors Away at Japan’s Shinjuku VR Zone


IGN’s Lucy O’Brien traveled to Japan’s Shinjuku VR Zone, Bandai Namco’s newly opened VR arcade featuring bespoke VR games from top properties including Dragon Ball, Gundam, Evangelion, and yes, Mario Kart.

O’Brien is seen on video describing her experience with Mario Kart Arcade GP VR, an officially licensed title made by Bandai Namco, available only at VR Zone. Four players sit in motion racing seats and don HTC Vive headsets with Vive Trackers attached to their hands. From a first-person view, players drive the karts and can reach up into the air with their hands to pick up floating items like shells and hammers to use against opponents in typical Mario Kart fashion.

O’Brien is clearly a bit flustered after her experience which she called her “favorite by far,” out of the available games at VR Zone, and said that “the actual thrill of the experience is just so ridiculously high.” If that wasn’t enough praise, she rounded out her impressions by saying it was “honestly one of the most incredible Mario Kart experiences I’ve ever had, I’m still kind of shaking from it.”

Part of the fun was the motion racing seats which offer several forms of feedback to immerse players: motion-based rumble and tilting, force-feedback from the steering wheel, and even fans to simulate speed, flying, and other effects.

You can get another glimpse of the gameplay and excitement here from Engadget:

See Every Vive Demo in Action at Bandai Namco's VR ZONE

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  • impurekind

    And this right here is why VR is so paradigm shifting.

  • On PC it would be a nice racing game. In an arcade with body tracking and a moving car it is really awesome

    • Armando Tavares

      At home, with a VR device and a game-pad it would still be AWESOME.

  • Ian Shook

    I’m so jealous that I’m getting angry.

    • ra51

      Me too…fuckers…I gotta go to Japan now.

      • RFC_VR

        It was reported on a number of website that they were opening a pop-up in London this July with 4 experience including Mario kart. Never happened and repeated attempts to communicate met with total silence… bizarre.

  • JesperL

    We spend a fortune buying VR for private use, and then they take one of the currently best VR games, and make it exclusive for a fucking Arcade… Pisses me off to be honest. Every VR game should contribute to make the VR market grow.

  • Bub&Bob

    What a crying shame it is that Nintendo cripples the greater potential of their wonderful games by holding them hostage to such incredibly weak console hardware.

    • silvaring

      They don’t have exclusivity on kart Kombat with cute character though, lite any developments can experiment with the genre if they want..

      • Bub&Bob


  • Nintendo still thinking about doing VR, eh? That Virtual Boy was a pretty bad black eye, but it’s hard to turn down such amazing potential for Nintendo’s franchises. If Lucky’s Tale showed anything, it’s that a VR Mario would be EPIC. I burnt out on Mario games with Mario Sunshine on the GameCube, but if I could play a new one in VR, I would fork over the money, both for new console and game.

  • Ethan James Trombley

    I got to do this! It was sooo fun! If only they would let me play on my Vive at home!…..jerks…

  • shadus

    Yes because the thing we really need is for people suffer from actual PTSD from Blue shells coming out of nowhere and blowing them up.

  • Jason Mitcheson

    I just did this. It really was awesome. If you are thinking of going – most airlines have specials at certain periods of the year – I flew there for ~$500 USD from Australia for example. Shinjuku is a little crazy though. Make sure you prepare to wait around 30 mins or up to 60 mins in peak times.

    As for the experience itself, like I said it was awesome but very short (5 mins). Only slight negative was that the kart (in real life) rumbles around a lot, and in the beginning it was little full-on and felt unneccessary. After a minute or so I completely forgot about it. At some point you can grab a hammer powerup and whack the other players with it from the side of the car while you drive; I think that was one of my favourite bits.

  • ZenInsight

    VR arcades FTW!